District shifts retirement bonds to other usesAt Monday night’s regular Alexandria School District 206 board meeting, Superintendent Terry Quist updated board members on the issue of bonding for post retirement benefits.
At Monday night’s regular Alexandria School District 206 board meeting, Superintendent Terry Quist updated board members on the issue of bonding for post retirement benefits.
He discussed the options put in place by the Legislature, which allow school districts to establish trusts and issue bonds to fund other post-employment benefits or OPEB.
Choosing the option of bonding for post-retirement benefits, according to Quist, would free up about $520,000 of general fund money to spend elsewhere.
Quist explained that administrators met with Education Minnesota Alexandria (EMA) leaders and members of the negotiations/personnel sub-committee to discuss post retirement bonding.
Both entities were in support of the OPEB option, providing that the money would be reallocated toward value-added services to students under the district’s plan.
The plan includes that funds be dedicated to student learning initiatives and that funds will support the district’s strategic goals.
Money from OPEB would go toward:
All day, every day kindergarten initiative – $275,000.
Digital classrooms of the future initiative – $200,000.
Supporting student learning initiatives – $45,000.
Members of the school board commended school administrators for developing a plan that addresses long-term security of post retirement benefits, while ensuring the financial security and credit of the district in the bond market.
Following the presentation about the OPEB option, board members took action and unanimously approved the following three resolutions:
• Authorizing the issuance and sale of $7.9 million general obligation OPEB bonds – the district’s long-term retiree liabilities as determined by an independent actuarial study completed in July 2008. The bonds will go out for bid in October and be brought back for board consideration at the next regular school board meeting, October 20.
• Authorizing the creation of an irrevocable OPEB Trust for the OPEB obligations.
• Authorizing participation in Minnesota Trust to manage funds once the bonds are sold.